Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vine and Branches - V(c)

Open-hearted communication requires two way expression. We open our hearts to speak honestly. We open our hearts to listen honestly.

God has given us special ways for expression. We can pray. We can worship. We can read, study or meditate on Scripture. People have designed methods that combine these in various ways. All of them facilitate focusing our hearts in open communication. Through all of them, God can speak to our hearts and act in our hearts.

Of course, the value of expression is any relationship lies in its consistency. Which implies regularity.

I can meet, fall in love, propose, and get married. But if my wife and I never meet or talk after that, there's not much point. And it's not much better, if we just get together every Christmas, whether we want to or not. Such relationships work best, if there is fairly frequent communication. Daily maybe?

There are some caveats. One, things change. Relationships in marriage change. At first, there is a man and a woman. Then, there are children. Then, there is a man and a woman, again. The addition\subtraction of people add to the complexity, and the need for adaption. At first, there is only a focus on the needs of two people. Then, the needs of children become important: health, school, sports, driving, university, and starting their own families. And children are different. Boys are different than girls. Special needs? Special gifts or talents? Then, there is a rebuilding of life after the nest empties. Relationship with God is not a static thing. Prayer\reading practices will need to change. New rhythms developed. Variety in the rhythm.

Two, the Bible is not a text book. I am sitting here, trying to understand the difference between living in relationship and living in religion. Ostensibly, my intention -- since, my thesis is living in relationship is what God designed -- is to grow in living in relationship. But, it sometimes seems like all I am doing is mastering the material and proposing theories. Hopefully, I will pass the final and go onto the next class. But the disciplines that connect us to God, are not just for knowing. They are for practicing. They are for transforming and enabling love.

Three, communication requires listening as well as speaking. People seem more inclined to speak and less inclined to listen. With God, we need to learn both "skills."

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